Friday, January 28, 2011

Pressure to Use Classroom Tech May Yield Opposite Results

Students tend to learn many new technologies by just playing around with them on their own time. As it turns out, that may also be the best way for educators to become comfortable with technology and more willing to incorporate it into coursework and classroom instruction. At least that’s the view of Rushton Hurley, who leads the Next Vista for Learning project, a library of free online videos produced by teachers and their students.

In this interview with T.H.E. Journal, Hurley discusses how teachers—in an all-too-human reaction—are more likely to turn their noses up at new technologies when their use is mandated by school administration. Like students forced to complete an unpleasant assignment, teachers pressed to master new tech will do just the minimum to get by.

But when administrators back away and give instructors the freedom to monkey around with applications and hardware as they see fit, they’ll try a few things here and there. More importantly, Hurley notes, teachers will support and encourage each other if they have opportunities to share their technology experiences and learn from others’ trial and error.

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